Child custody has several forms, sole custody, and joint custody. Sole custody means one parent gets physical as well as legal custody, though the definition can vary slightly from state to state. Joint custody is another type of child custody, where both parents get the right to have a share in making decisions for the child. There is also a type of joint custody where the child gets to stay for some period of time with each of the parents. However, it isn’t always easy for the child involved.
In order for this to work, both parents must cooperate regarding decision-making for the child, and this can be difficult if you’re dealing with a narcissist. In case of a bitter divorce and conflict; it might be better that sole custody of the child is awarded to a single parent, and this is especially true if the other parent is toxic and/or abusive.
Courts attempt to determine the best interest of the child when it comes to granting custody to one parent or the other. There was a time when the mother would automatically be given primary custody of the child, but today the court looks at the facts and selects the parent who has been playing the most active role in raising the child.
The court will most often grant visitation rights to the parent who has not been awarded physical custody of the child, assuming there’s no history of abuse. But if there is fear of any physical harm or abuse in the history of parents, the court instead of denying totally might give supervised visitation charges.
In cases where there are charges of abuse, especially sexual abuse, the court can give further instructions for investigation. Though there have been a number of cases where an accusation of abuse has been used to get more money or to harm the spouse’s reputation, and narcissists are known to smear campaign their spouses during discard and divorce.
This stuff can be very complicated. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our divorce coach and paralegal, Misty Dawn, if you need help understanding the process or paperwork.